BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Police have arrested a 16-year-old accused of setting fire to a Baltimore County house, before going to a school and trying to steal items from inside.
The Baltimore County Police Department reports the teen boy’s crime spree began just after 10:30 a.m. Thursday, when the fire department was called to the 900 block of Bardswell Rd. in Catonsville for a house fire.
Authorities found that the fire was intentionally set by the 16-year-old who lived in the house.
Firefighters were able to get the flames under control within minutes of arriving on scene, and no one was inside when the blaze started.
“No I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t believe it. I am still in shock,” homeowner Alan Upshur said. “I have been here for 15 years and of course nothing like this has ever happened.”
“What I thought it was maybe gas, because all the windows were blown out so, but then I seen my brother here and he was OK so that was a relief,” neighbor and sister of Upshur, Rosalind Hobson said.
Police then got a call that the teen suspect had a weapon, similar to a knife, and was chasing a man on Bardswell Rd., heading towards Johnnycake Elementary School.
School officials then called police and said the teenager, who was wearing a mask and was no longer carrying a weapon, had walked into Johnnycake Elementary School.
“He was not armed when he entered the school. Luckily he wasn’t able to encounter any children,” said Cpl. Shawn Vinson of the Baltimore County Police Department. “School officials acted quickly and intercepted him from having any kind of contact from anybody in the building.”
The suspect is accused of trying to steal items from inside the school, but left after being approached by school officials.
School officials followed the suspect after he left the school, and police were able to take him into custody near Vanderwood Rd.
Crews boarded up the now uninhabitable home that was set on fire.
“I’m going to find shelter, maybe at my sister’s next door or maybe at a hotel or a few friends’ house,” Upshur said.
The investigation into this incident is continuing, and police are working to determine what charges to bring against the teen.
No one was injured.